Getting started

To help you get started and organise your information, download and print off the Ancestor chart. Working backwards, fill in as much of the requested information as you can.

Also check out our Surnames database from the tab above and contact us if you find there any of the names you are researching. You can download the Client form too, to list the names in your family. Sometimes our research efforts with other clients overlap, often to your advantage, and if we know how to contact you we can pass the information on.

If you have a session with our Research service, bring the forms with you, along with any birth, marriage or death certificates or other documentation you may have. We’ll use it as a starting point for helping you.

Family tree programs

There are a number of family tree programs that can help you set out your family’s history in a logical sequence. Some of these are free.

To help you decide which program to use, visit Wikipedia’s Comparison of Genealogy Software page, which compares the features of the different programs.

Useful websites

Some genealogy sites are free. Some you pay to use, either by subscription or on a pay-per-view basis, eg census pages, baptismal records.

Below is a very small selection of useful websites.

  • allows you to browse a vast array of online records. A library edition can be accessed free at many public libraries.
  • National Archives is the central repository for Australian Commonwealth Government records.
  • Family Search has a large collection of genealogy records.
  • Coraweb is a gateway for a variety of genealogy sites.
  • Free BMD has an index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales.
  • Cyndi’s List is a portal for many genealogy resources.
  • Trove Newspapers contains online copies of many Australian newspapers that is easily searched.
  • Bound for South Australia is an index of ships that arrived in South Australia between 1836 and 1853. Many passenger lists are included.
  • Genes Reunited and Find My Past provide links to many online records. They also have message boards where you can post messages to share information or seek others searching related family trees.
  • is an entirely free and easy to use messaging forum for everyone researching their family history roots or local history.
  • Genealogy Specialists – a FREE Family History Forum.
  • Parish Chest – the premier one stop online genealogy shop.

These boutique websites contain a wide range of small databases with useful but limited information. You could get lucky!

  • Family Tree Oz has a number of links to searchable indexes of Australia-wide information, for example, South Australian Motor Vehicle Registrations 1906-1927.
  • Dawn Cowley has an indexed collection of unwanted certificates of births, deaths and marriages. For a minimal fee she provides a transcription.
  • The Australian Medical Pioneers Index provides access to information obtained from sources such as medical registers, shipping records, newspapers, pictorial archives, and early medical publications.
  • It’s an Honour covers all aspects of honours awarded to Australia’s quiet achievers.
  • NEW!

  • Companion Index was compiled by our group in 2019-20. It lists surnames of people mentioned in local history books held at the Victor Harbor Library. This link takes you to the VH Library site where you will find a direct link to the Companion Index at the end of the first section, Local History Area.